In another blow for it’s competition, and common sense, Apple have successfully filed a patent claim against HTC. The ruling states that HTC have until April 19, 2012 next year to modify their software or their phones will no longer be able to be sold within the United States.
The claim? Well, let’s have a look at that patent shall we?
A system and method causes a computer to detect and perform actions on structures identified in computer data. The system provides an analyzer server, an application program interface, a user interface and an action processor. The analyzer server receives from an application running concurrently data having recognizable structures, uses a pattern analysis unit, such as a parser or fast string search function, to detect structures in the data, and links relevant actions to the detected structures. The application program interface communicates with the application running concurrently, and transmits relevant information to the user interface. Thus, the user interface can present and enable selection of the detected structures, and upon selection of a detected structure, present the linked candidate actions. Upon selection of an action, the action processor performs the action on the detected structure.
That’s right, the ability to click on a phone number or email address in a message after it has been highlighted. This is worrying as this isn’t an HTC thing but an Android thing and now there is a precedent.
I mentioned at the top that this was another blow to common sense as well as to Apple’s competition. Here’s why. Remember that feature phone you had before the iPhone was a gleam in the late Steve Jobs’ eye? Remember what it did when there was a phone number in a text message? Well if it was anything like mine it highlighted it allowing you to either save it or call it. Nokia’s Symbian has had this feature before touch screen phones existed, Motorola put it in their RAZR V8 (maybe even the V3, I can’t remember). Considering the patent was filed back in 1996 is is strange that it is only now that Apple have decide to take offence at someone infringing on it. Why did Apple not sue Nokia when the 3310 came out in 2000? That could dial phone numbers it found in text messages and the patent is suitably vague enough to cover that. The only reason Apple are suing now is because they are losing market share to the Android phones that are increasing in popularity with every new update to the Android OS.